While largely an arbitrary and meaningless statistic, knuckleballer Tim Wakefield’s career wins total is evidently garnering a fair amount of attention from the heavens.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, Red Sox clubhouse insiders confirmed Monday that Wakefield no longer plans to publicly tip his cap to the heavens upon winning his 200th major league game because the 45-year-old is thoroughly convinced The Man Upstairs clearly has lost interest in further assisting him in his journey to accumulate a gaudy, round number of wins.
After his fifth failed attempt at 200 in Kansas City, Wakefield could be heard in the visiting team’s clubhouse muttering under his breath, “This is bullshit. This is bullshit…” over and over.
“I think this is probably His way of punishing Tim for his past wizardry. Those fluttering pitches can really take some ungodly dips and turns. Wake’s stuff really hasn’t looked any different over the last month, but clearly there is a higher power at work, especially when the bullpen comes in to try and polish off the game,” said one scout.
Wake’s next shot at 200 comes on Friday night at Fenway Park against the Oakland Athletics.
“Clearly, Tim’s on his own on this one,” observed another scout. “Really, though, who can blame Him? The guy’s a freaking sorcerer when that pitch is working.”
Indeed, Wake’s been defying the odds for years, going against what was ostensibly His Plan for Tim’s career to peter out as an outfielder in the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league system in the early 1990s. By developing the pitch, Wakefield followed the path of guys such as The Niekro Brothers and Charlie Hough–perfectly innocent former major leaguers who just so happen to have names that sound like they could have moonlighted as brutal serial killers.
A local historian: “If olde-tymey Puritans still lived in New England, they’d be Yankees fans…No way they’d root for a team with Tim on it. The initial settlers of Massachusetts were firm believers in long work days, fear of a higher power and violent pitching motions that put extreme stress on the shoulder and elbow. To them, the knuckleball would have been akin to sleeping for more than three hours each night. And, of course, the fact that a speedy man of Native American descent in center field tracks down many of the well-struck baseballs thrown by Wakefield would not have aided the pitcher’s cause if our forefathers had any say.”
Indeed, it appears that God has clearly enjoyed toying with Wakefield over his last five starts—even going as far as allowing him to take a no-hitter into the fourth inning in his last start at Fenway Park on August 3 against Cleveland. The first Indians hit was a 400-foot home run that landed in the visitor’s bullpen.
“Wake is just sick of it,” said one observer. “The mental anguish, the constant questions from reporters – he’s tired of it all.”
Still, some theologians believe the saga accentuates some important issues in the ongoing debate between the doctrines associated with intelligent design and Darwinism.
“This certainly gets down to the crux of the matter,” said one professor. “I would point out that Wakefield does have 177 career losses…So perhaps there is an equally strong argument that some mystic entity still has a say in where the knucklers flutter, so to speak. Maybe there is some sort of universal regression to the mean occurring right now. Or, maybe, we just need to come up with a better way to express the value of starting pitchers…”